Fabio: It’s better now that I have left Manchester United

by Tom Parker

Fabio Da Silva’s loan spell at QPR this season has seen the Brazilian youngster get some much needed Premier League first team action.

Some consistent performances recently, including back-to-back clean sheets, have seen him receive high praise and this week he sat down with The Independent’s Sam Wallace to chat about his time away from Old Trafford.

Fabio says that while people assume that he is sad to leave Rafael behind, it is not strictly the case.

“We spoke about this [splitting] when we were 12 years old,” he said.

“We would say: ‘One day we are going to split because we cannot be together for ever’. I knew it was going to happen. I just didn’t know when. Last year it happened, this was good.”

“Now we have split, it’s better. I tell you, when me and him play together we look at each other. When I make a mistake I’m not saying he feels bad – he doesn’t lose confidence but he gets less [diminished] a little bit.”

“Now [this season] when he plays and he has a good game and another good game, he gets more confidence. When I was there sometimes I was not playing or not playing well.

“Maybe he feels that I am down… because we lived together [in Manchester]. Sometimes when he plays he is happy. Sometimes when I play I am happy. Now we are getting more mature. He is there. I am here.”

Manchester United’s 1-0 victory over Fulham on Saturday was a game with plenty of flashpoints. Both sides hit the upright, and the crossbar, there were numerous goal line clearances, and of course a floodlight failure; it was certainly an action-packed affair.

However, during a lull in the action at Craven Cottage, viewers were subject to one of the stranger moments of the season.

ESPN’s cameras focused on the boots of United fullback Rafael Da Silva but instead of having his own name on them, Rafael had the name of twin-brother Fabio printed on his luminous Nike footwear.

According to on-loan QPR defender Fabio, there is a perfectly good explanation for the bizarre mix-up.

Nike had apparently sent the “Fabio” boots to Manchester and the “Rafael” boots to Fabio in London.

It is perhaps lucky then that as well as sharing identical looks, hair, and position on the football pitch, the twins also have the same-sized feet.

Fabio was asked whether the relationship between the two has improved since he moved to Loftus Road, and replied;

“Yes! Now we understand each other more. This is football. We are different. He is there, I am here.

“When we are together we discuss this. I say, ‘When I play bad you don’t have to be unhappy.’

“We discuss everything together. He knew I wanted to leave United to play more games. To play consistently. He agrees with me. He thinks it’s good for me to leave United to play more football. I enjoy it. I know it hasn’t been a good season for Queen’s Park Rangers but I try to improve and to help.”

The pair have had contrasting fortunes since their move from their homeland, with Rafael making such rapid progress before suffering from injuries and being made scapegoat for United’s exit against Bayern Munich in the 2009/10 Champions League.

It was in fact Fabio who started in the 2011 Champions League final against Barcelona and speaking of the 3-1 humbling given to United by the Catalan giants, he said:

“He [Rafael] was destroyed because he really wanted to play. For me, of course, it was unbelievable to play in the final but I knew he was not happy. I knew he wanted to play.

“Of course it didn’t change my game. I feel for him. I felt sorry for him. I didn’t feel complete because of this, but it was still fantastic.”

Fabio has had a difficult time a QPR with a number of injuries disrupting his minutes on the pitch while Rangers, then managed by Mark Hughes, sat rock bottom of the table looking lost. But, since Harry Redknapp took control of the club, things have looked a bit better for Fabio who has enjoyed a decent spell of late.

Speaking about his loan spell, Fabio said: “I speak about myself and when I am on the pitch I just want to play and give everything I have to help my team-mates in the club.

“Of course, we can stay in the Premier League. We have 13 more games to come and have a lot of points to get out of the relegation.”

Should Fabio stay in-form and injury free for the remainder of the campaign, he should theoretically have all the tools to battle Patrice Evra for the left-back slot next season, with Alexander Buttner looking to be a couple of seasons shy of putting in a sustained assault on the left full-back jersey.

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